Sunday, 29 October 2017

New Dean of Belfast

The Board of Nomination has approved the nomination of the Venerable Stephen Forde, Archdeacon of Dalriada, in the diocese of Connor, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Anne, Belfast, on the resignation of the Very Reverend John Mann.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Ven Stephen Forde, Rector of Larne and Inver with Glynn and Raloo, is a native of Rathfriland, County Down, and later lived in Downpatrick and attended Campbell College in Belfast.

He gained a degree in architecture at Edinburgh University before training in theology at the Church of Ireland Theology College, Dublin.

The Archdeacon was ordained in 1986 and was curate at St Mary's, Crumlin Road, Belfast, until 1989 when he was appointed Chaplain, or Dean of Residence, at the Queen's University of Belfast.

Furthermore, he was a minor canon of Belfast Cathedral, from 1989-91.

In 1995, he was appointed Rector of Booterstown and Mount Merrion in the diocese of Dublin, and during this time was Chaplain to UCD and Chaplain to Blackrock Clinic.

He returned to Connor in 1999 as Rector of Larne and Inver with Glynn and Raloo, and was appointed to the rural deanery of Carrickfergus in 2001.

The Archdeacon is married to Fiona, a staff nurse at Antrim Hospital. They have three children.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Potato Farls

Like Ulster potato bread or farls?

I devour it like nobody's business.

I came across this delightful video clip of Rosemary demonstrating how she makes it:-

Friday, 20 October 2017

Prince Charles in NI

THE PRINCE OF WALES is today visiting County Londonderry.

His Royal Highness is visiting Eglinton Community Centre and YMCA Londonderry to meet local residents, farmers and business owners affected by the flooding in August, and speak to volunteers, emergency services and officials assisting with clean-up efforts.

At Eglinton Community Centre HRH will meet local residents, some of whom remain in temporary housing, and the volunteers helping them to rebuild their homes.

Prince Charles will also speak with representatives from the emergency services, including local Police and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, and officials who continue to work on repairing the damage caused by the flooding.

The Eglinton Community Centre served as a place of refuge for those displaced by flooding and a coordination point for volunteers in the immediate aftermath of the storm.


HRH will then visit YMCA Londonderry, near Drumahoe, where he will meet representatives from the local farming community.

The Prince's Countryside Fund has partnered with Rural Support NI to offer Emergency Fund support to farm businesses in the area to assist with long-term recovery.

His Royal Highness will also speak with members of a multi-agency group who were also on standby for Storm Ophelia which struck Northern Ireland earlier this week.

The YMCA provides a valuable after-school programme and has a long tradition of offering team-based sports and fostering good community relations.

The Prince of Wales will view the YMCA's sports pitch, which was heavily damaged during the August flooding, and learn about the effect its loss has had on the local community.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Carton House

THE DUKES OF LEINSTER WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILDARE, WITH 71,997 ACRES

This illustrious and ancient family is descended from a common ancestor with the house of FITZMAURICE, Earls of Kerry (an earldom now merged with the marquessesate of Lansdowne) and that of WINDSOR, Earls of Plymouth; namely,

MAURICE FITZGERALD, LORD OF LANSTEPHAN, through whose exertions the possession of Ireland was chiefly accomplished by HENRY II.

This Maurice was the son of Gerald FitzOtho (son of Walter FitzOtho, who, at the general survey of the kingdom in 1078, was castellan of Windsor, and was appointed by WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, warden of the forests of Berkshire; which Walter was the son of

OTHO, a rich and powerful lord in the time of ALFRED THE GREAT, descended from the Dukes of Tuscany, a baron of England, according to Sir William Dugdale, in the reign of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, by Nesta, daughter of Rhys, Prince of South Wales.

The said Maurice obtained for his services a grant of extensive territories in the province of Leinster, and was constituted, in 1172, one of the governors of Ireland; in which year he slew O'Rourke, Prince of Meath, then in rebellion against the English Government.

This feudal chief died, full of honour, in 1177, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

GERALD FITZGERALD (c1150-1204), 1st Baron of Offaly, who was with his father in the memorable sally out of Dublin, in 1173, when that city was besieged by O'Connor, King of Connaught, with an army of 36,000 men, over whom the FitzGeralds obtained a complete victory.

This Gerald, dying at Sligo, was succeeded by his son,

MAURICE FITZGERALD (1194-1257), 2nd Baron, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, who was put into possession, by a mandatory letter of HENRY III, dated 1216, of Maynooth and all the other lands of which his father died seized in Ireland, and was put also into possession of the castle of CRUM, County Limerick.

This nobleman is said to have been the first who brought the Orders of the Franciscans and the Dominicans into Ireland.

In 1229, the King, appreciating the good services of the family since its settlement in Ireland, constituted his lordship lord-justice of the kingdom.

In 1236, Lord Offaly built the castle of Armagh; and, in 1242, he erected a similar edifice at Athlone.

His lordship died in 1257, in the habit of St Francis, leaving the reputation of having been a "valiant knight, a very pleasant man, inferior to none in the kingdom, having lived all his life with commendation."

By his wife he had issue,
Gerald FitzMaurice;
MAURICE FITZGERALD, of whom we treat;
David FitzMaurice;
Thomas FitzMaurice.
He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

MAURICE FITZGERALD (1238-c1286), 3rd Baron, Chief Governor of Ireland, then in minority; and Prince EDWARD having obtained the dominion of Ireland from his father, HENRY III, claimed his wardship as a part of the prerogative; but the barony of OFFALY being held by the minor and his deceased father under Margaret, Countess of Lincoln, to whom belonged the county of Kildare, as widow of the Earl of Pembroke, that lady contested the right of wardship, and brought the case before the King himself for decision.

This nobleman was afterwards Chief Governor of Ireland.

He espoused firstly, Maud, daughter of Sir Gerald de Prendergast, by who he had issue, a daughter, Amabel; and secondly, Emmeline, daughter of Stephen Longespee, by whom he had a daughter, JULIANA FITZGERALD, LADY OF THOMOND.

Lord Offaly was succeeded at his decease by his cousin,

JOHN FITZGERALD, designated of Callann, who wedded firstly, Margery, daughter of Sir Thomas Anthony, with whom he acquired the lands of Decies and Desmond, and had an only son, MAURICE.

He espoused secondly, Honora, daughter of Hugh O'Connor (the first Irish lady chosen for a wife by any member of the family), and had four sons,
Gilbert, ancestor of The White Knights;
John, ancestor of The Knights of Glin;
Maurice, first Knight of Kerry, or The Black Knight;
Thomas, ancestor of the FitzGeralds, of The Island, County Kerry.
This John being killed with his eldest son, Maurice, at Callann, by MacCarthy Mor, against whom the FitzGeralds had raised a great army in 1261, was succeeded by his grandson,

THOMAS, nicknamed Nappagh Simiacus, or the APE, a surname thus acquired - being only nine months old when his father and grandfather fell at Callann, his attendants rushing out at the first astonishment excited by the intelligence, left the child alone in its cradle, when a baboon, kept in the family, took him up, and carried him to the top of the steeple of Tralee Abbey; whence, after conveying him round the battlements, and exhibiting him to the appalled spectators, he brought him down safely, and laid him in his cradle.

From this tradition the supporters of the house of LEINSTER are said to have been adopted.


This Thomas was constituted a Lord Justice of Ireland, and captain of all Desmond, in 1295; and being of so much power, was generally styled Prince and Ruler of Munster.

He married Margaret, daughter of John, Lord Barry, of Oletham; and dying in 1298, left two sons,
JOHN, his successor;
Maurice, created EARL OF DESMOND in 1329.
Thomas was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN, 5th Baron (c1250-1316), who, being at variance with William de Vescy, Lord of Kildare, and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1291, and having various charges to prefer against him, came over to England, and confronted, and challenged the said Vescy, Lord of Kildare, before the King.

Lord Kildare first took up the glove, but subsequently withdrawing to France, His Majesty EDWARD I pronounced against his lordship, and conferred upon Lord Offaly Vescy's manors and Lordship of Kildare, Rathangan, etc.

Lord Offaly returned triumphantly to Ireland, and having continued to promote the English interest there, was created by EDWARD II, in 1316, EARL OF KILDARE.

His lordship died in the same year.

FROM this nobleman the family honours descended, without anything remarkable occurring, to

GERALD, 5th Earl, who died, leaving a daughter and heir, Elizabeth, who marrying James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormonde, the King's sheriff, in 1434, was ordered, on payment of the usual fine to the Exchequer, to give full livery of the Earl of Kildare's estates to this latter nobleman and his wife; and on the same roll, in that year, we find that Lord Ormonde and his wife paid the accustomed "relief" due to the Crown out of the estates of the said Gerald, Lord Kildare.

But no claim was ever made by the Earls of Ormonde to the parliamentary barony of the Kildare family in right of their marriage with the heir; for we find it with the earldom inherited by

THOMAS (c1421-78), 7th Earl, who succeeded his father John, the 6th Earl, in 1427.

This nobleman was appointed, in 1454 and 1455, Lord Deputy of Ireland; in the latter of which years he held a great council, or parliament, in Dublin, and subsequently one at Naas, wherein, amongst other proceedings, it was resolved
"that as no means could be found to keep the King's coin within the Kingdom of Ireland, that all Frenchmen, Spaniards, Britons, Portuguese, and other sundry nations, should pay for every pound of silver they carried out of the land, 40 pence of custom to the king's customer, for the use of the King."
His lordship was continued in the government of Ireland until 1459, when Richard, Duke of York, was constituted Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; but the following year, Lord Kildare was appointed Deputy to the Duke of York.

This tide of prosperity continued to flow until 1467, when, being involved with the Earl of Desmond, he was attainted with that nobleman (who suffered death), but subsequently pardoned, set at liberty, and restored in blood, by act of parliament.

His lordship was afterwards a Lord Justice of Ireland; and, in 1471, Deputy to George, Duke of Clarence.

He died in 1478, and was succeeded by his eldest son (by Joan, daughter of James, 6th Earl of Desmond), 

GERALD (c1456-c1513), 8th Earl, KG; who was constituted, on his accession to the peerage, Lord Deputy to Richard, Duke of York, and held a parliament at Naas.

In 1480, he was re-appointed Lord Deputy; and again, upon the accession of HENRY VII, Deputy to Jasper, Duke of Bedford, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Upon the arrival, however, of Lambert Simnel, and his tutor, Richard Simon, an Oxford priest, in Ireland, the Lord Deputy, the Chancellor, Treasurer, and other nobles in the York interest, immediately acknowledged the imposter, and had him proclaimed in Dublin, by the style of EDWARD VI; and the Lord Deputy assisted with the others at his coronation at Christ Church Cathedral, in 1487, where the ceremony was performed with great solemnity, the Chancellor, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Earl of Lincoln, Lord Lovell, Jenico Marks, Mayor of Dublin, and several other persons of rank attending.

The crown was borrowed from the image of the Virgin Mary; John Pain, the Bishop of Meath, preached the coronation sermon; and the Pretender was subsequently conveyed upon the shoulders of Darcy, of Platten, a person of extraordinary height, to Dublin Castle, amidst the shouts of the populace.

In the engagement which afterwards decided the fate of Simnel, near Stoke, the Chancellor, FitzGerald, fell; but the Lord Deputy had the good fortune to make his peace with the King.

His lordship was nominated Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1496, when he was succeeded by his son,

GERALD (1487-1534), 9th Earl; who, with his five uncles, having revolted, was imprisoned in the Tower, where he died, in 1534, and an act was passed in the parliament of Ireland attainting him of high treason, and forfeiting the family honours and estates.

His eldest son,

THOMAS, 10th Earl, shared in the misfortunes of his father, and leaving no issue, was succeeded by his brother,

GERALD (1525-85), 11th Earl; of whom a most remarkable account is given by a contemporary historian, Richard Stanihurst.

It appears that, at the age of 10, he was preserved from the power of HENRY VIII by the precaution of his female relatives, and his tutor, Thomas Leurense, his father's foster-brother.

He wandered from court to court upon the Continent, until Cardinal Pole, who was related to his lordship's mother, sent for him into Italy and completed his education.

He wedded Mabel, daughter of Sir Anthony Brown, and through the medium of that connection, obtained the favour of EDWARD VI, who conferred upon him, in 1552, the Lordship of Maynooth and other of his father's estates.

In the ensuing reign, he was fully restored, by letters patent, to the earldom of KILDARE and barony of Offaly, with the precedence of his ancestors.

It is a remarkable circumstance that, though attainted by act of parliament, this Gerald, under such grants from the Crown, but without any new statute, was summoned to, and actually sat as a peer in, the parliament of 1560, and it was not until the 11th year of ELIZABETH I that the attainder was removed by parliament.

His lordship's eldest son, GERALD, Lord Offaly, dying in the lifetime of the 11th Earl, left an only daughter, Lettice, who married Sir Robert Digby, and for a long time claimed the BARONY OF OFFALY, as heir of her father, but which claim, after being referred by JAMES I to the judges of England, was decided by His Majesty himself, who confirmed the barony of Offaly to the Earls of Kildare and their heirs male, and created Lady Digby BARONESS OFFALY for life; whereupon that ancient title devolved on the deceased Earl's second son and successor,

HENRY, 12th Earl, who wedded the Lady Frances Howard, daughter of Charles, Earl of Nottingham, and had surviving issue,
Bridget;
Lettice.
His lordship dying thus without male issue, was succeeded by his brother,

WILLIAM, 13th Earl; who died unmarried, when the honours devolved upon  (the son of Edward FitzGerald, brother of the 11th Earl, his kinsman,

GERALD, 14th Earl; whose grandson,

GEORGE, 16th Earl, was the first of the family brought up in the reformed religion, being so educated by his guardian, the Duke of Lennox.

His lordship wedded Lady Jane Boyle, daughter of the 1st Earl of Cork, and had, with other issue,
WENTWORTH, his successor;
Robert, father of ROBERT, 19th Earl.
George, 16th Earl, was succeeded by his elder surviving son,

WENTWORTH, 17th Earl, who was succeeded by his son,

JOHN, 18th Earl, who dsp in 1707, when the honours reverted to his cousin (refer to Captain Robert FitzGerald, second son of the 16th Earl), 

ROBERT (1675-1743), 19th Earl, third son of Captain Robert FitzGerald, seconnd son of the 16th Earl, who took a distinguished and active part in favour of WILLIAM III, during the contest in Ireland between that prince and his father-in-law, JAMES II.

This nobleman was an eminent statesman in the reigns of Queen ANNE, GEORGE I and GEORGE II.

His lordship espoused, in 1708, Mary, eldest daughter of William, 3rd Earl of Inchiquin, by whom he had four sons and eight daughters; and dying in 1743, was succeeded by his only son then living, 

JAMES, 20th Earl, who was created Viscount Leinster, of Taplow, in 1747; and in 1761, advanced to a marquessate, as Marquess of Kildare.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of a dukedom, in 1766, as DUKE OF LEINSTER.

His Grace wedded Lady Amelia Mary, daughter of Charles, Duke of Richmond and Lennox, by whom he had seventeen children, of whom were
WILLIAM ROBERT, his successor;
Charles James, 1st Baron Lecale;
Henry, m Charlotte, Baroness de Ros;
Edward;
Robert Stephen;
Emilia Maria Margaret; Charlotte Mary Gertrude; Sophia Sarah Mary; Lucy Anne.
The 1st Duke died in 1773, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
The heir presumptive is the 9th Duke's younger brother Lord John FitzGerald (born 1952)
The Dukes of Leinster are premier dukes, marquesses and earls of Ireland.


CARTON HOUSE, near Maynooth, County Kildare, remains one of the grandest stately homes in Ireland.

Formerly the ancestral seat of the  Dukes of Leinster, the demesne presently comprises 1,100 acres.


During a history spanning more than eight centuries, Carton House Hotel, County Kildare, has seen many changes.

The estate first came into the ownership of the FitzGerald family shortly after Maurice FitzGerald played an active role in the capture of Dublin by the Normans in 1170 and was rewarded by being appointed Lord of Maynooth, an area covering townlands which include Carton House.
His son became Baron Offaly in 1205 and his descendant, John FitzGerald, became Earl of Kildare in 1315.

Under the 8th Earl, the FitzGerald family reached pre-eminence as the virtual rulers of Ireland between 1477 and 1513.

However, the 8th Earl's grandson, the eloquently titled Silken Thomas was executed in 1537, with his five uncles, for leading an uprising against the Crown.

Although the FitzGeralds subsequently regained their land and titles, they did not regain their position at Court until the 18th century when Robert, the 19th Earl of Kildare, became a Privy Counsellor and a Lord Justice.

The first record of a house at Carton was in the 17th century when William Talbot, Recorder of the city of Dublin was given a lease of the lands by the 14th Earl of Kildare and is thought to have built a house.

The house and lands were forfeited to the crown in 1691 and in 1703 sold to Major-General Richard Ingoldsby, Master-General of the Ordnance.

In 1739, Richard Castle was employed by the 19th Earl of Kildare to build the existing house after it was bought by the 19th Earl of Kildare.

This was the same year the FitzGerald family bought Frescati House. Castle (originally Cassels) was also responsible for some other grand Irish houses including Westport House, Powerscourt House and in 1745, Leinster House, which he also built for the FitzGeralds.

In 1747 James the 20th Earl of Kildare and from 1766 first Duke of Leinster, married Lady Emily Lennox, daughter of the Duke of Richmond and great-granddaughter of King Charles II.


LADY EMILY played an important role in the development of the house and estate as it is today.

She created the Chinese room (bedroom to Queen Victoria) and decorated the famous Shell Cottage on the estate with shells from around the world.

One of Lady Emily's 23 children was the famous Irish Patriot Lord Edward FitzGerald, leader of the 1798 rebellion.

Leinster House (formerly Kildare House)

Carton remained unaltered until 1815 when the 3rd Duke decided to sell Leinster House to the Royal Dublin Society and make Carton his principal residence.

He employed Richard Morrison to enlarge and re-model the house.

Morrison replaced the curved colonnades with straight connecting links to obtain additional rooms including the famous dining room.

At this time, the entrance to the house was moved to the north side.

Carton remained in the control of the FitzGeralds until the early 1920s when the 7th Duke sold his birthright to a moneylender, Sir Harry Mallaby Deeley, in order to pay off gambling debts of £67,500.

He was third in line to succeed and so did not think he would ever inherit, but one of his brothers died in the war and another of a brain tumour and so Carton was lost to the FitzGeralds.

In 1923 a local unit of the IRA went to Carton with the intention of burning it down.

However, they were stopped when a member of the FitzGerald family brought a large painting of Lord Edward FitzGerald to the door and pointed out that they would be burning the house of a revered Irish patriot.

Ronald Nall-Cain, 2nd Baron Brocket, whose principal residence was Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, purchased the house in 1949; and in 1977 his son, the Hon David Nall-Cain, who had by then moved to the Isle of Man, sold the house to its present owners, Lee and Mary Mallaghan.

Carton House  was remodelled by Richard Castle in 1739, building an enormous central, pedimented block, curved colonnades and wings.

Their Graces' Dublin residence, Kildare House, later renemed Leinster House, easily the grandest private home in the Irish capital, was erected by the same architect six years later.


The Organ Room or Gold Saloon is probably the most magnificent and important room in the House, with its Victorian Pipe organ at one end; its sumptuous gilded walls, ceiling and plasterwork.


The Chinese Room (below) also retains its 18th century character, resplendent with its Chinese wallpaper of 1759 and the sumptuous gilded embellishments within the room.


It has been unfortunate that Carton no longer belongs to either the Dukes of Leinster who created it; nor the Nall-Cains, whose role was notable, too.

Both families left for reasons of impecuniosity: The 7th Duke squandered the family fortune.

The Dukes of Leinster were, by far, the greatest landowners in County Kildare, with an immense amount of property and ground rents in Dublin and Athy.

There were prosperous tenant farms and the family had to release this land under the terms of the Wyndham Act of 1903.

Carton House and demesne has been lovingly restored to become a de luxe hotel.

First published in May, 2011. 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Jameson of Windfield

THE JAMESONS OWNED 3,123 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY GALWAY

WILLIAM JAMESON, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, married, in 1737, Helen Horne, of Thomanean, Kinross-shire, and had, with other issue, a son,

JOHN JAMESON (1740-1824), Sheriff Clerk of Clackmannanshire, who wedded, in 1768, Margaret, elder sister of James Haig, of Blairhill, Perthshire, and Lochrin, Midlothian, and had issue,
Robert (1771-1847), died unmarried;
John, of Prussia St, Dublin;
William, b 1777; dsp;
JAMES, of whom presently;
Andrew, b 1783;
Margaret; Anne; Jennett.
JAMES JAMESON (1781-1847)succeeded to the fortune of his immediate elder brother, William, of Merrion Square, Dublin, and purchased the estate of Windfield, County Galway, and the demesne of Montrose, County Dublin.

He married, in 1815, Elizabeth Sophia, youngest daughter of the Rev William Woolsey, of Priorland, County Louth, by his wife Mary Anne, youngest sister of Sir William Bellingham Bt, of Castle Bellingham, County Louth, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
William, of Montrose;
James, of Airfield;
Sydney Bellingham;
Robert O'Brien;
Mary Anne; Elizabeth Sophia.
Mr Jameson, a director of the Bank of Ireland and Deputy Governor at the time of his death, was succeeded in his Windfield estate by his eldest son,

THE REV JOHN JAMESON (1816-72), of Windfield, who espoused, in 1845, Isabella Anne, eldest daughter of General Sir Henry David Jones GCB, and had issue,
JAMES FRANCIS, his heir;
Harry William, Lt-Col RIR;
Arthur Bellingham;
Charlotte Elizabeth; Edith Sophia Inkerman.
The eldest son,

JAMES FRANCIS JAMESON JP (1848-96), of Windfield, Major, 4th Battalion, Connaught Rangers, wedded, in 1879, Helen Maud, eldest daughter of William Jameson, of Montrose, County Dublin, and had issue,

MAURICE EYRE FRANCIS BELLINGHAM JAMESON (1888-1950), of Windfield, who espoused, in 1915, Amelia May Moss, and had issue,
JOHN MAURICE RICHARD, born 1917;
Patricia Joan, born 1915.

THE JAMESONS were best known as distillers of Irish whiskey.

Portmarnock Hotel

THE PORTMARNOCK HOTEL, Portmarnock, County Dublin, stands on land which was originally part of the Jameson family estate.

The house itself was called St Marnock's.

EDWARD VII often visited the Jamesons.
On his last official visit in 1907, His Majesty unveiled a plaque which was designed specially for the occasion of the marriage between members of two great distilling families, Jameson and Haig. The plaque is still to be seen in what was the secret south garden.
The Jameson family had a nine-hole golf course on the site over a century ago.

This course is now part of both Portmarnock Golf Club and the Bernhard Langer-designed Dublin Golf Links course.


Sutton House

SUTTON HOUSE, Sutton, County Dublin, was also a Jameson residence.

It is Victorian-Tudor in style, with mullions, gables and huge chimneys.

One end of the mansion has a tower of four storeys.

Sutton House subsequently became a hotel.

*****


WINDFIELD HOUSE, County Galway, was purchased by James Jameson in the 1820s.

The family owned Windfield for over a century.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Mount Stewart Visit

I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon at the National Trust's Mount Stewart estate on the Ards Peninsula, County Down.

My visit was timed to enable me to have a light lunch in the tearoom; and invariably I choose their soup.

The Bay Restaurant, as it's called, was doing good business, so I joined the queue and perused the chalkboard as I waited.

Potato and leek soup with wheaten bread was my choice.


It didn't seem to be seasoned much (which is fair enough), so I added adequate salt and pepper myself.

There was a sizeable boy or cub scout camp on the estate yesterday, by the way.

They had set up camp in the large overflow car-park field, at the far end.

After lunch I wandered in to the shop and had a quick look at the Christmas cards.

The Trust used to sell delightful cards which featured their big houses and parks, though I haven't been able to buy any like that for many years.

A pity, because nowadays I have to look elsewhere for my cards.

Thereafter I proceeded towards the Rose Garden and Dairy (both are closed for major restoration work), where I managed to catch an intriguing glance at the preparatory work in the garden.


Thence I walked through beautiful woodland, back to the mansion house gardens.

It's generally recognized that Mount Stewart has one of the finest gardens in the British Isles.

There's certainly still abundant autumnal colour in the flower-beds.

Before I motored home I went briefly into the charming village of Greyabbey.

Among other new shops, there's an Asian fusion kind of restaurant called "Tuk-Tuk", and they even have one of those Tuk-Tuk jalopies featured outside the porch.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Frieda the Warbler

Lately there have been several occasions when I've had visitors to Belmont GHQ and they missed me.

I happened to be upstairs at about 8pm last night when, on checking my emails, a pal advised me to check my door-bell.

Accordingly I went downstairs to the porch and depressed the button.

By Jove, NCS was right.

The door-bell or, to be more precise, the chimes weren't working.

There was a clicking noise coming from the chime box every time I pressed the door-bell button, though.

This morning I got to work (!), with step-ladder, cotton-bud, WD-40 oil and old cloth.

Now this contraption goes by the name of the Friedland Warbler Mark Two.

I proceeded to thump and agitate it; meddled with the spring and clapper, oiled it slightly; cleaned half a century of dust away.

It came to life again! The old girl is warbling away to her heart's content.

All visitors are forthwith apprised that there will be no need to thump the window or door.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Baron Carrickfergus in Belfast

THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE, Baron Carrickfergus, has today paid a visit to Belfast.

His Royal Highness visited Inspire, a charity and social enterprise which fosters wellbeing in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

HRH met mental health counsellors and service users before officially opening the charity's new offices.

Prince William then travelled to the historic Titanic Quarter to see the work of Lagan Search and Rescue lifeboat service.

His Royal Highness watched a live demonstration of a rescue mission in the Abercorn basin - which involved the deployment of a lifeboat, quayside response and rescue swimmers - before meeting a number of the volunteers.

One of the helicopters from the recently established Northern Ireland Air Ambulance service was parked alongside the harbour.

This evening Prince William will attend a dinner of the Irish Guards Association (Ulster Branch).